[NetBehaviour] <nettime> Srećko Horvat: We came to Hamburg to protest about G20 – and found a dystopian nightmare (Guardian) (fwd)
sondheim at panix.com
Fri Jul 7 07:49:46 CEST 2017
>From Patrice Riemens on Nettime - thought we should see this -
(and apologies for too many posts this morning_
We came to Hamburg to protest about G20 ? and found a dystopian
The surreal hi-tech security dominating the city underlines the disunity
among the world leaders and wider cultural anxieties about where we are
The Guardian, Thursday 6 July 2017
Arriving in Hamburg this week feels like entering a dystopian nightmare.
As the city prepares to host the G20 summit this Friday and Saturday,
many roads are blocked and high-security zones have been established.
More than 20,000 police, many heavily armed, are patrolling the streets,
backed up by drones and the latest surveillance technology. Helicopters
are permanently ?parked? in the clouds, so the sound of their rotors
becomes a sort of background music you soon stop noticing. Perpetual
police and ambulance sirens, emergency lights and water cannons
accompany the orchestra of power.
Hamburg braces for G20 violence as tensions rise over police tactics
Walking on through the streets ? I am here as part of the DiEM25
(Democracy in Europe Movement), which I co-founded with Yanis Varoufakis
and thousands of progressive Europeans ? this dystopian scene starts to
feel surreal. It is as though you are trapped in a ?post-truth?
hallucination. Beside roadblocks and police checkpoints, I stumbled
across a new ad for a popular German cola, depicting Donald Trump, Recep
Tayyip Erdo?an and Vladimir Putin calmly sleeping ? with the inscription
?Mensch, wach auf!? (?Man, wake up!?).
The message is an appeal to the politicians who have supposedly closed
their eyes to global wars, terrorism, the refugee crisis and climate
change. On the other hand, it is a wake-up call to all citizens of
Hamburg and beyond to organise and stop sleepwalking into a postmodern
The current Hamburg incarnation of G20 is very different to the two most
significant G20s so far ? in 1999, which was an attempt to create global
governance after the Asian crisis, and in 2008, in response to the
While the ?traditional? G20 was unified in either promoting or
implementing the so-called Washington Consensus, it seems the new G20
can only agree to disagree.
When it comes to globalisation, Angela Merkel continues to push the idea
of free trade, while Trump hews to protectionism. At the same time, even
China?s ?panda diplomacy? reveals that those who are supposed to be main
allies can?t agree on the meaning of globalisation in the first place.
Or as Merkel put it herself, after the Chinese gave Germany two giant
pandas just ahead of the G20 as a token of friendship: ?Beijing views
Europe as an Asian peninsula. We see it differently.?
And then there?s the fact that after Trump?s withdrawal from the Paris
agreement, there is clearly no consensus on how to finally tackle
climate change. And even if the rest of the G20 seems in agreement, as
nations they still provide four times more public financing for fossil
fuels than to renewable energy.
The recent escalation in the Gulf is another source of incongruity.
Despite the fact that everyone, from Trump to Theresa May, supports the
?fight against terrorism?, they continuing to make lucrative arms deals
which then subsequently fuel Isis. The Saudis themselves have booked the
entire Four Seasons hotel in Hamburg, behaving like kings even in
Myriad contradictions are evident in Merkel?s policies: she prevents
Erdo?an giving speeches to his supporters in Germany, while at the same
time is not ready to stop the controversial EU-Turkey refugee deal. Or
Germany complaining over Trump?s isolationism while it imposes its own
EU financial policy without coordination with others.
And here we come back to what is still missing in the German wake-up ad.
The problem is not that the leaders of the authoritarian world ? Trump,
Erdo?an and Putin (plus the Saudis and Chinese) ? are asleep: they know
very well what they are doing ? and they continue nonetheless.
The real problem is the dogmatic slumber of the leaders of the free
world, represented at this G20 summit by Merkel, May and others, which
is the origin of our current dystopian nightmare (wars, terrorism, the
refugee crisis and climate change). In this sense, the current G20 is
not just a demonstration of disagreement on all fronts, but ? after
Hamburg ? whether the G20 can continue to exist at all.
? Sre?ko Horvat is a Croatian philosopher
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